Lions Club fulfills its commitment to Carlinville
The Issue: For many, the Lions Club Carnival is just good family fun.
Our View: Carlinville Lions Club is true to the organization’s mission of bettering communities through volunteerism.
CARLINVILLE (Sept. 7, 2017) – One would be hard pressed to find a Carlinville resident who doesn’t like the Lions Club Carnival. It’s a long-standing tradition that suitably fills in as a local homecoming, complete with a parade, good food, games for the kids and a queen.
This is the Lions Club’s 100th anniversary. The group began in 1917 when Chicago businessman Melvin Jones sought to broaden the scope of his local business organization. Jones wanted the club to do work that reached beyond the needs of the business community and address the needs of the public.
According to the Lions Club history, provided at lionsclubs.org, Jones and his peers reached out to business organizations across the country. Following an organizational meeting in June of that year, the group adopted the name “Association of Lions Clubs” and convened in Dallas, Texas, in October 1917, at which time a constitution, by-laws and a code of ethics were adopted.
It was Jones who encouraged club members to use their skills to make improvements in their communities. This simple goal has made Lions Club International the world’s largest service club organization, with more than 1.3 million members in over 46,000 clubs.
Carlinville’s Lions Club Carnival plays at the heart of the organization’s intent. This community-based event provides entertainment for local families while raising money to improve the community. Every year improvements are made by local members using their skills for the betterment of the event and, in turn, the entire community.
One improvement to this year’s carnival is the new miniature golf game, which was built as the project of local Eagle Scout Jonathan Stilwell, who made the game both bigger and lighter.
A few years ago, some handy Lions Club members built a new barrel ride for the carnival. That sort of hands-on effort is what communities need. By using their own skills and talents, not only do members support their cause, they establish themselves as role models.
Of course, the Lions Club could hire out a lot of the tasks they take on, but that would miss the point. There was a time when no one would consider hiring out a job they could do themselves. It was never about convenience; it was about being self-sufficient. Today, a lot of people out there would much rather have someone else do the dirty work or the back-breaking labor. Their kids see them do it and grow up to do the same. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone to do things, pretty soon the skills required to get things done are lost.
Even the queen candidates must take a hands-on approach to the competition. Months prior to the carnival, these girls raise a significant amount of money in ticket sales in support of the Lions’ mission. It’s a competition based on effort and production rather than good looks and personality.
Money raised by the Lions Club is funneled back into the community by the contributions the club makes to local charities and to the organization’s causes. Needless to say, the Carlinville Lions Club is a group of exemplary leaders in this community. They volunteer their time and skills in a way that makes Carlinville better for everyone. They lead by doing.